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Old 05-02-2012, 09:17 PM   #1 
underdebate
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Spasming/burping, lethargy

Hi, all. I brought home two new boys on Monday, and they've both been in monitoring bowls so I can keep an eye on them before I transfer them to tanks. Today one of them started acting strangely, and it's worrying me. I did a partial water change at about 5:00 today (it's now 9ish)-- since he's in a 1 gallon bowl, I do 100% changes every other day, but I was already in the middle of doing three other water changes in the viscinity so I decided to freshen his up a little. I fed him one pellet-- he hasn't had an amazing appetite lately, but he's only been home for two days so I figured that might just be him adjusting-- and he didn't eat it right away, so I figured I'd leave it for him and check back later to see if he'd eaten it.

The pellet is now apparently gone, but I decided to sit with his tank a little bit to check up on him and noticed some strange behavior. He's extremely sluggish compared to how energetic he was earlier today-- wouldn't move for anything short of me gently tilting the bowl. He swam around for a few seconds, but then did what I can only describe as 'burping'-- it looked like he was trying to bring something up, and I heard a 'clicking' noise. He took a few gulps from the surface, slowly swam around a bit more, 'burped' again and finally went to rest on one of the leaves of his plant, situated so he could just tilt his head up to get more air if he needed to. Every few minutes, his body would 'jerk' a little bit and he'd make the burping motion again, gulp down some air, and then lay back down.

He doesn't seem distressed-- when he DOES swim, he manages it fine, and he isn't breathing rapidly, but he absolutely does not want to move and doesn't respond to fingers/gentle water movement/any other form of stimulus short of actually forcing him to move. I'm really worried.

Housing
What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 79F
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? pellets-- don't have the brand name on me
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets, twice a day (so far he's only accepted one or two per day)

Maintenance

How often do you perform a water change? every two days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? SeaChem Prime

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Nothing to note.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sluggish, 'burping'-- see above.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About an hour ago.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No treatment yet.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Unknown
How old is your fish (approximately)? Unknown
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:36 PM   #2 
Sena Hansler
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Is it possible it got stuck? If you have a magnifying glass (I have one!!!) you can check down his mouth. Their mouths tend to be slightly open.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #3 
underdebate
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I'm not sure how I'd get him into a position where I could look into his mouth, though. What would you suggest if he DID have a pellet stuck in his mouth-- like, is there some way I could remove it?
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:43 PM   #4 
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Do not attempt to!

My one gal got greedy and stole the larger female's mealworm once - back when I fed it with the shell, chopped up of course. She got it stuck, spasmed, "burped" and sulked. I put her in a breeder's net in the sorority so she could get air, and waited it out. The bodily fluids that break down food, should soften it up to either get it to go down or up. How big are the pellets?I switched to "tetraMin tropical granules" because they are nicely sized, and easy to crush for smaller mouths.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:48 PM   #5 
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It seems like it's a little bit worse now-- every time he attempts moving, he burps, spasms, does a bit of gill-gasping, takes a gulp of air and then settles down back to not moving again. It doesn't seem to happen that often, though-- he still seems calm, he's just staying on his plant at the top of the water.

Should I maybe consider cupping him overnight? He seems comfortable where he is and has direct access to the surface, but I'm worried about what could happen if he moved and then couldn't get back up.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #6 
Sena Hansler
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what you could do, is float him in a square container in his tank. and give him something to sit on :) it took overnight for my female to cough up her greedy goodies
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:48 PM   #7 
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So: I left him overnight, and by morning he appeared to be doing much better-- he was swimming of his own accord, re-exploring the tank, all that.

However, he's still occasionally doing the burping thing-- what'll happen is he'll be swimming around, and then he'll get this 'spasm'. His gills will start opening and closing really rapidly, accompanied by a clicking noise, and he'll quickly swim to the surface and take a few breaths, whereupon he'll relax a little and go over to his plant to take a rest. It doesn't look very fun. Plus he still doesn't have an appetite, but I'm not sure if that's related or if it's just him getting used to his new living situation.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:27 PM   #8 
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the clicking noise I find is with the food rattling back and forth - IF the food is stuck there.
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